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Zandspruit residents: 'If COVID-19 comes, we'll die - we are forgotten'

In Zandspruit, an informal settlement west of Johannesburg, residents said everyday life already came down to survival of the fittest, yet in the face of the coronavirus no one amongst them could win.

The Zandspruit informal settlement. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - With the COVID-19 virus now confirmed in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, residents in similar settlements have already rejected any possibility of beating the disease.

In Zandspruit, an informal settlement west of Johannesburg, residents said everyday life already came down to survival of the fittest, yet in the face of the coronavirus, no one amongst them could win.

WATCH: Zandspruit on Covid-19: Life goes on no one cares for us

“Even if it can come, we will all die, we are the forgotten ones.”

These were the words of Philemon Mokgwathe, who has lived in Zandspruit since 2003.

In that time, he’s joined hundreds of residents along Beyers Naude Road as they burned tyres, protesting against their appalling living conditions.

It’s exactly this experience that has taught him that no one is coming to save them, forcing him to contend with the inevitability of death should a single case of COVID-19 be confirmed in the settlement.

“All these things that we are doing, the protest, the blocking of the roads is for nothing. It’s falling on deaf ears.”

Residents of Zandspruit cannot adhere to the 21-day lockdown, which requires people to stay in their homes because the small shacks they call home are unliveable.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.